April 22, 2014 in Nation/World

Stowaway beat odds by surviving in jetliner wheel well

Associated Press photo

A 16-year-old boy who stowed away in the wheel well of a flight from San Jose, Calif., to Hawaii is loaded from a stretcher into an ambulance at Kahului Airport in Kahului, Hawaii, on Sunday.
(Full-size photo)

Despite the subzero temperatures and lack of oxygen, people can survive even a long journey in the wheel well of a jetliner. The latest example is a teenager who, according to authorities, stowed away Sunday on a 5 1/2-hour flight from San Jose, Calif., to Hawaii.

It was not immediately clear how the boy stayed alive in the unpressurized space. A Federal Aviation Administration study of stowaways found that some survive by going into a hibernation-like state.

Worldwide, there have been 105 known people who stowed away since 1947, according to data kept by the FAA. Counting the California teen, 25 made it alive, for a survival rate of about 1 in 4.

The FAA notes that the rate may be lower, because people could have stowed away and fallen out of the wheel well without anyone knowing.

Associated Press

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